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Virtualization Boom

Hewlett-Packard is embracing virtualization as a core offering across its server line, unveiling a wide range of hardware and software aimed at automating the enterprise data center.

The new products, rolled out on Monday, were expected to dominate HP&s Technology Forum, originally scheduled for New Orleans this week. HP rescheduled the conference in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

“We&re really pushing virtualization into the mainstream, looking for dynamic, automatic movement of resources according to business needs,” said Nick van der Zweep, director of virtualization and utility computing at HP, Palo Alto, Calif. “To have things automatically flow and move around according to business needs is revolutionary.”

The timing of HP&s virtualization push is critical, said Dan Behm, president of Open Systems Technologies, a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based HP solution provider. “The industry acceptance of virtualization is starting to get traction,” he said. “Every customer is now not only talking about virtualization, but about related issues like load balancing.”

Key to the new push is the Virtual Server Environment for HP&s Integrity server line. It includes a the new Integrity Essentials Capacity Advisor, which looks at applications and workloads and compares them with recent utilization and projected growth rates for a what-if analysis of resource use, van der Zweep said. This information then is fed to HP&s new Integrity Essentials Virtualization Manager, which looks at all hardware, software and sub-CPU partitions to allow changes to resources.

The packages can be purchased separately or bought together at a 40 percent discount.

New to the Virtual Server Environment is the ability to run multiple copies of an operating system in a partition as small as 1/20th of a CPU, van der Zweep said. This capability now is shipping to early adopters for HP-UX and is expected to be available for Linux and Windows in 2006 and for OpenVMS in late 2006 or early 2007, he said.

HP also is changing how HP-UX is licensed in a virtual environment. “While some software vendors charge for 20 licenses if 20 versions of their software runs on a CPU, the most we charge is according to the number of CPUs,” van der Zweep said.

HP also unveiled the ProLiant Essentials Virtualization Pack, which includes VMware&s ESX Server and Virtualization Infrastructure node plus other HP software to manage Windows machines.

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